2 min read

What design changes are allowed when building safe storage for medicines

To be practical, some deviation from the official government design regulations for storage of controlled drugs can sometimes be accepted, provided they are proven to be secure. Here we cover some of the most important ones.

five-sided-strong-roomsFive-sided room

According to the standards stated in the UK Home Office Security Guidance for Controlled Drugs a strong room for pharmaceutical products should be constructed with six sides. In practice, pharma strong rooms are never built with 6 sides but are instead 5-sided rooms secured into a concrete slab, for which the UK Home Office ministerial department allow a concession. Specifically, strong room floor panels can be replaced with a minimum 150 mm thick concrete floor, provided the wall panels are secured from the inside using 100x100x10 steel angles and M16 bolts with minimum sheer capacity of 124kN.

strong-room-thresholdDoor threshold sunk into floor

Another aspect to be considered when moving away from a six-sided strong room to a five-sided solution, is the easy passing of forklift trucks that are going in and out the room. On a 5-sided room, you must sink the threshold of the door into the floor, so the level access for the forklift truck to pass over is still maintained.

strong-room-sprinkler-holesSprinkler penetration holes in wall panels

Especially in strong rooms that are designed to store pharmaceutical products such as expensive controlled drugs, a sprinkler piping makes good sense that in the event of a fire, the damage can be kept to a minimum. To be able to install sprinkler piping to protect both people and the product being stored, there is a concession made to allow a penetration of 150 mm, provided it fully plugs that hole and it is in the sidewall, set a minimum of 1 m from the roof.

Doors suitable for forklift trucks with high masts

A further important aspect is to design the solution in a way that forklift trucks with high mast can access the strong room through a door that is wide and tall enough. The doors on Gunnebo’s strong room installations for example can be single or double leaf, with Grade VI barrier material and provide up to 5 m height x 2 m wide clear passage for forklift trucks.


Want to learn more about the important factors to consider when planning a strong room and the key things you should look for in a supplier? If so, download our free PDF entitled “Strong Rooms for Controlled Drugs: A Guide for the Pharma Sector” by clicking here.

Free guide - strong rooms for pharma companies

Based on our long experience at Gunnebo as a trusted supplier of strong rooms for controlled drugs, we are happy to support you in any project in which you are looking to work with a professional, well-reputed and reliable partner. Get in touch with us, click here





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